Art has the power to move us.
It can bring a smile or reduce us to tears. Some art is disturbing while another is comforting. Today is a day to ponder art as a way to fill our souls with joy. And for children, that comes in the process, not the product.
It is the process of creating that brings new ideas to what is already known. It is founded in wonder and curiosity and should be nurtured as such.
As Early Childhood professionals, it is our duty to find art experiences that fill a child with joy and spark the creative energy naturally living inside every one of them.
So how do we do that? By providing materials that allow each child to make their own, unique creation. Materials that beg to be explored and manipulated.
I used to have “Inventions” every Friday in my classroom. The kids totally looked forward to it! The art table was covered with things like scraps of paper, stickers, tape, glue, wiggly eyes, toilet paper tubes, felt and fabric – and more. Included were tools like scissors, markers, and brushes were included and children were encouraged to “invent” something. Some days is was anything they wanted. Other days it would roll with the theme – like invent a new insect. The bottom line was, they created something totally unique to their mind. This is process.
What you don’t want to do is provide a child with an example. “See my owl. You can make yours look just like mine”. “Who can paint a beautiful tree with brown bark and green leaves?” This is product. Product has nothing to do with creativity and can actually thwart the creative energy.
Art activities that allow a child to make decisions on what their piece will be, allows growth in the brain’s architecture. Open ended art develops far more synaptic connections than simply trying to copy what they see. In fact, trying to copy has a negative effect on emotional development. Have you ever tried to copy someone’s work only to end up frustrated with a feeling of failure? That’s what we do to children when we ask them to follow an example. It is up to us to provide each child with experiences that nurture positive growth and development. Experiences that will stretch the use of their imagination and encourage them to explore the things around them.
And what results is truly a wonderful form of art.
Here are a few things to remember when providing process oriented art to your classroom:
- No samples. The child chooses the materials.
- No directions. Again, children take the lead and chooses what to do with the materials.
- The activity is focused on experiencing the materials and the various ways they can be manipulated.
- The entire experience creates a sense of calm
You can learn more at the NAEYC website – Supporting the Development of Creativity .
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